Bruins Edged by Baylor in Pitcher's Duel, 2-1
HOUSTON – The No. 23-ranked UCLA baseball team loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but saw a comeback effort fall just short as the Bruins were edged, 2-1, by Baylor on Friday morning in the opening game of the 2022 Shriner's Children's College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
The Bruins' (6-4) offense didn't come alive in earnest until the ninth inning, as Baylor (5-4) starter Tyler Thomas held them to two hits and no runs over the first eight innings of the game.
UCLA began to get to Thomas in the ninth, starting with a pinch-hit solo home run from sophomore outfielder Carson Yates. The blast – the first of Yates's career – was a no-doubter into the left field bleachers and halved the Bruins' deficit.
UCLA – serving as the road team in the neutral matchup at the home of MLB's Houston Astros – continued to rally after the roundtripper, with sophomore second baseman Daylen Reyes smashing a line drive into the left-center field gap for a two-out double that chased Thomas from the game.
Things got even more interesting after Baylor reliever Mason Marriott walked Michael Curialle and hit pinch-hitter Ethan Gourson with a pitch, loading the bases for UCLA freshman shortstop Cody Schrier, who had the Bruins' only two hits of the game prior to the ninth inning.
Marriott missed the zone with his first three pitches to Schrier, but came back with a called strike on his 3-0 pitch before getting a swing-through on a fastball to fill the count. Schrier hit a sharp grounder up the middle on the pay-off pitch, but Baylor second baseman Tre Richardson made a nice play to his right to retire Schrier and end the contest.
The result made a tough-luck loser out of UCLA sophomore right-hander Jake Brooks, who was excellent over a career-high eight innings.
The Fountain Valley, Calif. native allowed just three hits during his outing, striking out seven and walking none. He made few mistakes over the course of his start, but was punished to the tune of a two-run Kyle Nevin home run after leaving a slider up and over the middle of the plate in the fourth inning.
Brooks was clinical other than that roundtripper, retiring the side in order in six of his eight frames.
Schrier was the lone Bruin to find offensive success against Thomas, singling off the lefty in the fifth and eighth innings for his third-career multi-hit game. Thomas ended the game with a line of four hits, one run (earned), no walks, and 10 strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings.
UCLA returns to action in the Shriner's Children's College Classic on Saturday morning, facing Oklahoma at 9:00 a.m. PT on MLB Network. The game can also be streamed at Astros.com, the MLB app, and the Astros' social channels.